Telling Your Story

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Whether it’s for a website, brochure, customer letter, speech, video or PowerPoint presentation—each project has its own distinctive requirements from a writer.

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What is it Like to Live in Fear?

Fear is walking into your kitchen to find an incensed spouse who shakes his closed fist and demands to know where you’ve been and who you’ve been with. The answer, buying groceries and chatting with an old friend from high school, only infuriates him more. He grabs your arm, hard, and threatens to kill you if you don’t tell him the truth. You know what’s coming next. The closed fist connects with your face and you go down to the floor in pain, sobbing for him to stop. The kids, just eight and ten years old, are at the door, tears running down their cheeks and abject fear in their eyes even though this is a common occurrence.

The next morning it’s as if nothing had happened; only the fear remains along with the bruises. At long last, a decision has been made. It’s time to leave. There is one final look around your home, the pretty pink bathroom and the living room that you decorated with hand-me-downs and garage sale items. Everyone says it’s beautiful.

But today there is no time for sentiment. There is only time to feel safe again.

In the middle of a very cold winter night in desperation, Marilyn packed a suitcase, grabbed a few blankets and collected her children. They tumbled into the old car, praying that it would start. Marilyn drove to WalMart where there were snacks and a bathroom nearby—and a lighted parking lot. The police found the little family a few days later, hungry and cold. Marilyn was nearly out of her mind with worry. The Lincoln Police Department knew how to help. They have a strong relationship with Voices of Hope who have helped in these situations for more than 40 years. The agency’s phone number is on the back of each LPD officer’s business card.

Marilyn was one of 1500 unduplicated adult victims and her children were two of 341 children helped by Voices of Hope in 2013. They never close. Voices of Hope will take action 24/7/365, to answer calls (more than 10,000 a year) and to provide whatever a client needs to feel safe in a crisis. It could be a gas card, a place to stay the night or referrals to other agencies. Every interaction is strictly confidential.

There are many “Marilyns” and “Joes” (six percent of Voices of Hope’s clients are men) who experience domestic violence in Lincoln. There are also victims of sexual assault, incest and other unspeakable tortures in our town. Unless you are a victim, or close to someone who is, you won’t hear much

about them, or about Voices of Hope. Those facts trouble Patsy Martin, communications /resource development coordinator at Voice of Hope. “These issues are hidden in our society,” she says, “we don’t hear about them and so people don’t know how they can get help.”

Voice of Hope is part of the continuum of care for those in crisis in Lincoln, one of three critical areas of focus for United Way said Brian Wachman, executive director. “We believe strongly that by assisting people who are struggling, we can help them to build a strong foundation and allow them to become strong, thriving community members.”

In Marilyn’s situation, she felt that she would never be safe here. Voices of Hope helped her connect with a sister in Michigan. Her car was not suitable for the trip, so counselors found bus transportation.

They bought the tickets, visited Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach for food baskets for the trip and waited in the car until the bus arrived. Marilyn and her children were referred to another crisis center Michigan to help her get on her feet there—and to feel safe at last.

Growing up is hard to do

At age 13, Molly* was out of control. She used drugs, drank alcohol and sometimes stayed out all night. She was sexually active and missed 16 days of school in the first semester of the school year. Her mother, Marie, worked evening shifts and was stressed to pay her bills. She didn’t want to confront her daughter and fight about her behavior, but to enjoy the little time they had together.

Marie contacted the CEDARS Partners in Permanency Program, funded by United Way that helps families who are on the cusp of intervention by the state’s child welfare system. A family partner worked with Marie on her parenting skills. They talked about age-appropriate behaviors, boundaries and methods to keep Molly happy at home. The family partner also counseled Molly, reminding her of the rules she had to abide by. Ten months into the program, Molly is consistently going to school and earning B’s and C’s. She is no longer sexually active nor is she using drugs or alcohol and is home every night with her mother.

Emily Wesseln, director of the program, said the program’s goal is to help troubled families avoid having a child removed from the home or be in the state’s Child Protective Service system. “We want families to stay safely together and be successful,” Wesseln said. “We want to increase graduation rates, to help families feel like they can have a job to provide for their families and be confident, happy and successful in their lives.”

In another United Way funded program, the Child Guidance Center works with children who may have experienced trauma in their lives such as abuse, neglect or loss of a parent through death or divorce. According to Carol Crumpacker, executive director of the Child Guidance Center, it is believed that trauma is at the root of acting out behaviors. Their goal is to find the underlying cause. The program at Child Guidence helps children understand and overcome the trauma they have experienced through treatment such as individual, family and group therapy or play and art therapy.

Robin McDannel, senior director of community impact at United Way, says that both of these programs are invested in getting professional intervention to families with serious problems quickly. “These families need help to get them on the right path, to break down barriers and to help them avoid more serious consequences. These agencies do an amazing job of saving families.”

Two other programs are funded by United Way to provide professional intervention services:

  • Family Services—Behavioral Health
  • Lincoln Medial Education Partnership—School Community Intervention Program

*Names in this story are fictional. Their stories are real.

Kregel Windmill Factory

Harnessing the power of the wind

windMan has used wind power as long as there has been wind. Windmills have been used for irrigation pumping and for milling grain since the 7th Century AD.

Today, it is not unusual to see wind farms consisting of multiple 100-foot towers with main shafts that weigh more than 18 tons. Over the years, harnessing the power of the wind has taken on dramatic proportions.

In the early days of the United States, the development of the “water-pumping windmill” was the major factor that allowed farming and ranching in vast areas that were otherwise devoid of readily accessible water. The multi-bladed wind turbine atop a lattice tower made of wood or steel was, for many years, a fixture of the landscape throughout rural America.

In Nebraska City, Nebraska, a man named George F. Kregel established a business to manufacture general goods for the agricultural trade in 1897. By 1903, Mr. Kregel had begun producing windmills in a single-story, wood-frame factory building on Central Avenue. Both George Kregel and Arthur, his son who followed him in the business, are gone now, but their factory remains largely untouched since the Kregels were building their Eli brand windmills.

Preserved to reflect a moment in time—the year 1939—the Kregel Windmill Factory Museum is the only surviving intact historic windmill factory known in the United States. Within the structure visitors will find a time capsule of early twentieth-century shop-type manufacturing. The contents remain in place as if its employees had just stepped out for lunch.

AN AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE

A visitor to the Kregel Windmill Factory Museum will enjoy a truly genuine experience. There is nothing artificial in the Kregel’s shop. Visitors get up-close views of Civil War era machinery, glimpses of the Kregel’s ingenuity such as industrial machines on movable platforms and insight into the innovation they employed in more than 150 years of business.

The museum remains largely untouched. Ledgers boxes are stacked in the office, the 1939-style telephone remains on the desk and an overcoat hangs on a hook ready to protect the wearer from winter winds outside. In the shop, original parts are stacked in bins, hammers lay waiting for a strong hand to employ them and the blacksmith area appears ready for the next iron piece to be molded in the searing heat of the forge.

A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

While the Kregel Museum may be considered a “diamond in the rough,” a volunteer board of directors has exciting plans for the future including interactive displays, video stations, a hands-on children’s activity area, a gift shop and a fully ADA accessible building. Anyone with an interest in museums or the history of early agriculture in the Great Plains is welcome to join in the effort to maximize the potential of the Kregel.

HOW TO GET THERE

Just two hours by car from Kansas City or Des Moines, an hour’s drive south of Omaha and a similar distance from Nebraska’s capital, Lincoln, travelers to southeastern Nebraska will find a stop at the Kregel Museum an opportunity for a rare peek into life as it was in 1939.

OTHER AREA ATTRACTIONS: Nebraska City is a river town that abounds with small town charm and atmosphere. A vibrant main street offers coffee shops, boutiques, theaters and outlet shopping. The town showcases architecturally noteworthy public buildings and homes, historically significant attractions, museums, galleries, orchards and vineyards. For more information about how to spend a stimulating day in Nebraska City, go to www.nebraskacity.com.
1416 Central Avenue
Nebraska City, Nebraska 68410

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Client Testimonial

“I just wanted to pass along that I read your “What is it like to live in fear?” article in United Way News and thought it was very moving (made me want to donate and volunteer). Great job on it and for helping spread the word on this organization that is helping so many in our community.”

Erin Hergott
Lincoln

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Telling Your Story

Every project begins with solid writing. Selecting the right words and putting them together to persuade, inform or make the audience laugh is a gift.